Thursday, December 18, 2008

To be or not to…edify

Winding down to the end of a semester and I am grateful that I made this half-year without throttling one or more of those 6th, 7th, and 8th grade little …sons of…a loving and merciful God. I have approximately 48 hours until I cease the daily drudgery of my current campus and seek my fortune at yet another facility within the Great Realm of the Edification.
There is an emotion that I am in the process of experiencing. It is a vague and unfamiliar residence. I am gloomy and elated at the same time. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer of emotive pursuits, I have scarce preparation for anything new and unusual. In former times, I have had the safety of singular passions with which to deal with. Although I have a level of relief in the relocation, I wish to maintain my current station.
I have a dichotomous population of learners; approximately half are in an in-patient drug treatment program, and the other half are an assortment of children who have been taken from there homes by the state protective services. (Either to be protected or to ensure that society is protected from them) The future captains of industry who are seeking a similar life as mine (being in recovery) are upset because I am leaving. I am upset that I am leaving as it takes these kids away from me. I have always had ready access to the comfort, and benefit of what my 12 step fellowship refers to as the “Ultimate Weapon for Recovery”, another recovering addict. I keep a cell phone with a phone list full of folks to call if I encounter any of the myriad of difficulties someone who suffers from my disease can encounter in a day. I can call and get respite from the sometimes catastrophic and ofttimes trivial issues that an addict encounters. Until I took this job.
I must leave my phone in the car, and stay inside the entire day due to the nature of the beast that is my form of gainful employment. There are kids to watch and teach, there is that time each day when I must do the administrative duties of being a teacher, there is the lunch period where there is usually a colleague or two available to replenish the body, and update each other on the latest school gossip and generally bitch about the kids, or the principal, or the kids, or the secretary, or the kids, or the administration, or the kids, or the state mandated standardized test, or the kids, or the fact that it did not freeze enough yesterday to give us a bad weather day where we could lay up at the house manipulate the remote and eat, or the kids…
It is the venue of each teacher that they bemoan the wonderful job each has when in conversation with other educators. It is a requirement I think. I will find out once I finish my certification requirements. And it usually stays in the lunch period, but sometimes, it carries into the classroom. In the treatment kids I have had a pressure release valve on how my feelings are. I have that quiet understanding with them that only another addict can feel. I am going to miss this the most.
The rest of the kids are many time more of a challenge to me. They all come from some form of abuse cycle, and it is hard to tell what you’re going to get from day to day. I have a crew of youngsters (middle school) that are generally, and collectively, a major pain in the ass. These are the kids that are easy to dislike. They are those members of our society that have been thrown either away or into the system. They are usually aged beyond their years, and desperately need the assistance of an adult that is not going to abandon or abuse them. I am learning how to be that person, and it is taking me a while. I leave work sometimes hoping they will take the next day off. Sometimes I wish I worked somewhere else. Mostly when they call me a “Fat fuck” for the sixth or seventh hundred time. I have one that has called me “Fat Man” everyday I’ve seen him. I known him since the day I came to work. Adults who call me this pay for the indiscretion…severely. If an administrator should happen to call me something similar I would sue for discrimination in a heartbeat. (Someone needs to…see my other pages)
Yet somehow, from them, I take it and my response is to pray for them. Every time I pray. When I am away I miss them. When I come back they all tell me that they missed me. Even the sucker that calls me “Fat Man.”
Well, it is the day after I began this piece, and I am of a little less favorable disposition to the kid that enjoys reminding me of my girth. I came to school this morning with a genuine Yuletide attitude. I brought candy to reward my charges for being the reason I get up in the morning. Being the last of the semester and having already posted my grades, I have allowed them the freedom to read, or play games on the computer. Two of them decided that thanking me for this would be best demonstrated if they engaged in a fistfight. Being responsible for the well being of these youngsters, I got in the middle and broke it up. My chief protagonist felt it proper to swing a punch at me in order to stop me from preventing further violence. It did not work and I had him expelled from class. Merry Freaking Christmas!
The issue now is the fact that I am sitting at my desk and hoping my shoulder and hip will stop hurting enough before second period so that I can get out of my chair to greet the next class. I also have to figure out exactly what it is that I am going to do tomorrow when I have to greet the kid again. It is not really his fault. His brain works different then other people. All he knows how to really do with his bad feelings is lash out. I have to remember a time when I too had only the insanity of violence to react to my bad emotions. I can feel empathy for the child, and will probably forgive him in a few minutes. Right now I am in a bad mood (imagine that) and I am praying I can leave it on this page. Gone are the eloquent words I am able to put on paper. Gone are the noble principles behind my feeling that this is a calling. What is really left is a desire to find the asshole that did whatever it was that made the kid the way he is, and show him/her what the results are of his actions. Maybe he/she has arthritis as I do, and I can make them hurt like I am. Maybe I can do many things, but what I can actually do is forgive the kid and pray for him.
Is it still a calling? Well, this isn’t my first rodeo with kids and fistfights, so I guess I’ll do just what I always do. Take some arthritis pain pills and get up tomorrow and come to work. Peace.